The risks posed by global warming are beyond anything the world has experienced before. We need new approaches and strategies to cope with these changes.
Climate change impacts are already being observed in many parts of the world and all levels of society are affected – from insurance companies going almost bankrupt after large pay-outs to fishers who are losing landing sites from costal erosin and catching less fish because coral reefs are bleached. Responding to climate change therefore requires participation and action on different fronts within countries, as well as regionally and internationally. We need to put measures in place to strengthen natural systems and infrastructure to deal with the impacts of climate change. We must also take steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (mitigation measures).
Everone in the Caribbean must play a role if the region is to respond effectively to climate change – governments, the private sector, labour and civil society.
Civil society is well-positioned to:
- Lobby and advocate;
- Develop partnerships with other key civil society stakeholders to develop collective responses;
- Public education and awareness; and
- Lead by example.
(Christian Aid 2009)
This concept connects the ideas of capability, equity, participation and gender sensitivity. A livelihood is a means of making a living. It includes food, jobs, income, tangible assets, entitlements to common property, and social networks of support. A livelihood which can cope with and recover from stress and shock is sustainable. A livelihood is sustainable when it maintains or enhances local or global assets on which life depends and renews or stores them for future generations. Sustainable development applies at the macro policy level while sustainable livelihoods applies to the conditions of persons living in poverty who manage their survival without awaiting external intervention. Sustainable livelihoods are intense, complex, diverse, often migratory, fraught with uncertainty but always a testimony of human capability and equity. It allows those who are deprived to have better opportunities and to share resources without discrimination.